Political will needed to fight communist terrorists — Esperon

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. emphasized on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, that political will is required to combat communist terrorists, the Philippines’ biggest political threat.

Esperon, who is also the vice chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), made the statement after the Senate cut the task force’s projected P28.12 billion budget to just P4 billion for 2022.

Senator Sonny Angara, the chair of the Senate committee on finance, previously stated that the majority of the NTF-ELCAC’s budget has been redirected to fund pandemic response programs.

“While I understand that COVID-19 is the clear and present danger that we have to address, I hope they recognize the scourge that has caused stunted growth of the countryside and in effect of the nation. We have spent almost a trillion to combat COVID-19, let’s have the political will to fight the long standing number one political security threat in our country,” Esperon added.

He also hopes senators realize they’re dealing with a 53-year insurgency headed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“I also hope that our Senators will take to heart the plight of people in the barangays affected by the prolonged conflict,” Esperon said.

Earlier this year, the NTF-ELCAC announced that it will allocate P20 million to each of 1,406 barangays that have been freed of communist terrorist influence as part of its Barangay Development Project (BDP) in 2022.

BDP key projects like as farm-to-market roads, school buildings, water and sanitation systems, livelihood initiatives, and health stations would be funded using the P20 million given per barangay.

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